18 January 2012

Continuous Bias Tape Tutorial

Every time my mom comes to visit I promise that I'll show her how to make continuous bias and somehow we run out of time...and energy.  So.  This is for my mom: how to make continuous bias (of course you can use it, too ;). 
Once in a while I need lots of bias, more than a little strip I hastily cut from the corner of my fabric, and let's face it, the selection of pre-made bias is slim.  They've got some basic solid colors all in polyester, but no variation in pattern or content.  Continuous bias is a long strip without having to sew lots of little strips together.  Some places I've used a lot of bias tape are on my table and desk mats, around the edge in my Never Enough Orange Sewing studio:
and on the Divine Grace dress I made for Project Run and Play last year:

Continuous bias is also convenient for binding a quilt, although, as we've established in the past, I've yet to complete a quilt.  One yard of fabric makes a huge amount of bias :)
Start by folding your fabric on the bias (45° angle).  Cut along the fold.
Next, with right sides together, match the edges of fabric together so the bias edges you just cut create an X.  Sew along the edge and press the seam open.
Open up your fabric and on the right side, draw lines along the bias edge.  The width you draw your rows will depend on what finished size you want your bias tape.  I made mine 2" wide and ended up with about 1/2" finished product once it is sewn on.  If you plan to make piping, you will need to double your desired width.  If you plan to use it as double folded bias tape, you will quadruple the desired width.  I know, math involved!
You want to be as precise as possible so you stay on the bias.  If you get off a tiny bit by the time you get to the other side of the fabric, don't worry, just trim the extra off.
This is the part that you're going to have to read more than once and study the pictures ;) If you need to actually write the numbers on your fabric to help, do it.  Fold fabric right sides together, bringing the the bottom up to the top. Match the lines you just drew, except off by one, so the corner of your bottom fabric will line up with the first line you drew on the top. It will work, I promise.  
It will look like this at the beginning and end of edge.  Match up the lines you drew so they intersect 1/2" into the seam and sew.  
This is what it should look like when you press open the seam allowance.
Now you have a giant tube of fabric on the bias.
You can either use a cutting mat, straight edge and rotary cutter to cut along the lines, or just a pair of fabric scissors, while you watch a movie that doesn't involve subtitles ;).  This will take a little while.
Now you finish your bias strips how you want: piping, double or single folded bias tape.  I use my bias tape maker machine, but you could also use the manual ones that are a whole lot cheaper.  If you're going to go to the trouble of making your own bias, it might be worth the investment (use those 40% off coupons!) and it goes lickety split without the burns!  
I wrap my finished bias on the cardboard from the store bought piping/bias tape that I've used up for neat and tidy storage. Or you can leave your bias as is and make A Very Biased Skirt:
That post also has more information about bias if you're wondering what in tarnations is so great about bias in the first place.
What comes next?  Enjoy the variety that comes with making your own bias in patterns and fiber content!

39 comments:

  1. Bias tape is the best thing ever! I make and use it all the time. I would really like to invest in one of those bias tape maker machines, that would really speed up the process for me.

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  2. Awesome! I just snagged a bias tape machine off EBay for $25! I haven't used it yet, but this makes me ache to try it out soon!

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  3. thank you for this tutorial - i just got a bias tape maker for christmas and hope to try it out soon!

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  4. Thanks , your method is so clever, I usually cut individual strips and join each piece . Your method looks much better and quicker - I will be trying this soon.

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  5. This is brilliant! How nice to be able to sew just two seams rather than constantly sewing those skinny pieces together. I can't wait to try it. Thanks!

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  6. Yes! A great little tutorial. Thank you!

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  7. Oh! Thank you Katy! This will have to do I guess, all though I would much rather cozy up to you instead of your blog. Love you.

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  8. Great tutorial and fabrics. :)

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  9. thanks for the tutorial! hopefully this will make my next bias making venture go much more smoothly than my last! :)

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  10. *sigh* You're making me want to go and buy one of those bias tape machines that I've been eyeing forever. But since I just moved about 85% of the sewing stuff out of the house because we're fumigating, it would be a very bad idea! ;) I'm in mourning for my fabric... and the patterns go tomorrow.

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  11. Most excellent! Thank you so much for the lesson, very much appreciated!

    http://modjoonthefly.blogspot.com/

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  12. Ha! I have listened to many a movie these past few weeks. You are so right about the subtitles!

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  13. I've recent started making some bias tape. I knew you could do it this way, but couldn't wrap my head around it until I'd done it the other way a couple times to see how the bias tape worked. Very timely tutorial for me! Thanks!

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  14. I always use this type of making bias tape which i read from one of my aunt's vintage tailoring notes! have shared the link to this tutorial @ Adithis Amma Sews

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  15. This tutorial is so timely for me. I have bias tape on my list to make this weekend. I didn't even think about doing it as a continuous strip. Brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

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  16. Thank you for this tutorial!

    I'm trying to remember the website where you get your ruffled fabric. Can you refresh my memory?

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  17. Holy goodness you just blew my mind!! Thank you!

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  18. Melissa-the link is on my right side bar "Ruffle Fabric".

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  19. Okay, my first time reading this I was confused and then I read it again. Bam! I totally got it! You have just rocked my sewing world.

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  20. this is really helpful. thank you!!

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  21. I've heard of this method and seen tutorials for it in the past. However, your explanation and pictures make much more sense then any I've seen. I am pretty sure I can handle this and can't wait to try! thanks.

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  22. houhou! this is so clever! I never had to make such a long bias but now that I started making my own I love projects with bias and pipebias!!
    thanks
    Hermine

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  23. I've seen this on a much smaller scale, but this is great!

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  24. Oh my goodness .... you brilliant girl! Thank you for sharing.

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  25. Hey, thanks for posting this tutorial! I read about how to make continuous bias tape in a book I had from the library once, but as soon as I returned the book I promptly forgot a) how to do it and b) the title of the book. Can't wait to try it.

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  26. Thanks for sharing! I've always wanted to make my own bias tape!
    I am your newest follower! I would appreciate it if you came over to my blog and followed me back. I am currently hosting a giveaway which includes free digital scrap booking software! Come check it out at:
    http://milliemorganmedia.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-memories-software-giveaway.html

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  27. I had been wondering how to do this- thanks for such a great tutorial!

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  28. Thank you very much for this great tutorial. I have just started making Pillow case dresses for "Dress a Girl around the world" which require bias tape for the shoulder straps. I will defiantly be making some bias this way

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  29. your post convinced me to get a bias tape machine! i used a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby & it was very affordable! i love how fast it is! no more burnt finger tips!!!! thanks!!

    mamamadeit.blogspot.com

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  30. Okay.. I am making this bias tape and just can't figure out the part about matching the numbers. Am I supposed to line the lines up exactly on top of each other or are they just to touch at the ends and sort of cross away from each other?? I am sure this is SUPER simple, I am just not getting it!. :)

    Thanks!

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  31. amarch--that's the trickiest part--they will intersect, and where they intersect is where you want to pin and sew. If they are just a tiny bit off when you press open your seam allowance, don't worry about it, your bias will still work! :)

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  32. GOT IT! My Piping looks great! Thanks so much! :)

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  33. I'm making some box cushions for a pair of lounge chairs we recently purchased and I used your tutorial to make matching piping. Needless to say, I can't thank you enough for such a wonderful tutorial! It was so easy to follow and so very concise that I never once had a worry. You are an amazing teacher :)

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  34. Beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing and teaching a simple way to understand this technique!

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  35. Thanks a lot! Your tutorial came in very handy when I ended up with grainline tape recently. Now have got it.

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  36. Thanks for this tutorial! Just tried it and it was a lot easier than I thought! Just have to work on making all my lines straight now ;)

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  37. thanks for the tutorial! I just made it with a half a yard and it worked beautifully!

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